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Sri Lanka Crisis News Highlights: Acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe says Rajapaksa govt covered up facts

Sri Lanka Crisis Today Highlights: “By the end of next year let’s start stabilizing, and certainly by 2024 let’s have a functioning economy which will start growing,” Wickremesinghe told CNN.

By: Express Web Desk
Updated: July 20, 2022 8:08:06 am
Wickremesinghe will replace Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country and resigned after public anger over the country's worst economic crisis exploded on the streets 10 days ago. (File)

State of Emergency in Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe told CNN in an interview on Monday that Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government was “covering up facts” about financial crisis and did not tell the truth about Sri Lanka’s bankruptcy. He added that his aim was to stabilize Sri Lanka’s devastated economy by the end of 2023. “By the end of next year let’s start stabilizing, and certainly by 2024 let’s have a functioning economy which will start growing,” Wickremesinghe told CNN.

India wishes that the ongoing transition in Sri Lanka will not only be “smooth,” it will also help the island nation stage an “early and effective” economic recovery, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay told The Indian Express Monday. To that effect, India, which has helped Sri Lanka with almost $4 billion in aid would, “going forward,” like to bring in “more investment” to help the country build capacities to respond to the economic challenges, Baglay said.

Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency in the country, according to a government notice released late Sunday night, Reuters reported, as the current administration works towards handling the social unrest and tackling the economic crisis. “It is expedient, so to do, in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community,” the notification stated.

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08:08 (IST)20 Jul 2022
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19:11 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lanka's acting President Wickremesinghe says he was not part of Rajapaksa administration

Ahead of Wednesday's presidential election, Sri Lanka's acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has distanced himself from the disgraced Rajapaksa government, saying he was not in the "same administration" and was appointed to "handle the economy" of the bankrupt country.

Wickremesinghe, 73, on Tuesday was among three candidates proposed by lawmakers for Wednesday's presidential election to pick Rajapaksa's successor. The 225-member Parliament will elect the next president who will complete the remaining tenure of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who resigned last week.

19:04 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lanka's Parliament readies to accept names for president

Sri Lanka's Parliament was preparing Tuesday to accept nominations to elect a successor to its ousted president, amid political turmoil that threatens to worsen instability as the country endures its most severe economic crisis in recent memory. Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country last week after protesters outraged by the crisis stormed his official residence and occupied other key public buildings. He later submitted his resignation via an email to the speaker of the parliament.

Three lawmakers— the leader of the main opposition Sajith Premadasa, former government minister Dallas Alahapperuma and Marxist party leader Anura Dissanayake have said they will contest Wednesday's parliamentary vote. Acting President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has not said he will run, but statements from Rajapaksa's party, which still holds a majority in Parliament, expressed backing for him.

18:58 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lankan opposition leader drops out of presidential race as protests planned

Sri Lankan opposition leader Sajith Premadasa announced on Tuesday he had dropped out of the race to become president of the crisis-hit nation and promised his support to a rival candidate set to take on acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe. Students and other groups planned a mass protest against Wickremesinghe's bid for president, as lawmakers gathered in parliament to finalise candidates for the role ahead of a vote on Wednesday.

Protesters see Wickremesinghe as an ally of ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. "For the greater good of my country that I love and the people I cherish, I hereby withdraw my candidacy for the position of president," Premadasa said on Twitter.

18:47 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Indian envoy: Will like to bring more investment to help Sri Lanka build capacity

India wishes that the ongoing transition in Sri Lanka will not only be “smooth,” it will also help the island nation stage an “early and effective” economic recovery, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay told The Indian Express Monday. To that effect, India, which has helped Sri Lanka with almost $4 billion in aid would, “going forward,” like to bring in “more investment” to help the country build capacities to respond to the economic challenges, Baglay said.

His remarks come in an exclusive interview, his first after the July 9 protests and the resignation of Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and ahead of Parliament’s voting Wednesday to elect a new President.

Read our exclusive interview here

13:52 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lanka's Wickremesinghe to face low-key lawmaker in tight race for president

Sri Lanka's main opposition leader withdrew from the presidential race on Tuesday and promised support to a low-profile politician from the ruling party who will take on acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe in a tight contest.

The 225-seat parliament votes on Wednesday to choose the new president, who will lead efforts to address the country's economic and political collapse. The house finalised three candidates on Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear how much support the two leading candidates, 73-year-old Wickremesinghe and 63-year-old Dullas Alahapperuma, had in parliament. Wickremesinghe is deeply unpopular among protesters who stormed his office and official residence earlier this month when he was prime minister, along with those of ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Nevertheless, Wickremesinghe is backed by a faction of the ruling party to be president.

Former journalist and five-time lawmaker Alahapperuma has the support of a separate faction of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party as we all many in the opposition. (Reuters)

13:30 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Behind the crisis in Sri Lanka – how political and economic mismanagement combined to plunge nation into turmoil

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa formally resigned on July 15, 2022, having earlier fled the country amid widespread protests in the Southern Asian nation.

The man who replaced him, Prime Minister and now interim President Ranil Wickremesinghe, is likewise facing calls to go amid political and economic turmoil.

Although the drama escalated over a matter of days – during which the presidential palace and the prime minister's residence were both occupied by demonstrators – the crisis is years in the making, argues Neil DeVotta, professor of politics and international affairs at Wake Forest University. (The Conversation)

13:03 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Three-way fight for Sri Lankan Presidency; Acting President Wickremesinghe in the race

Acting Sri Lankan President President Ranil Wickremesinghe and two others were proposed by lawmakers on Tuesday as the three candidates for the July 20 presidential election to pick the successor to Gotabaya Rajapaksa after he resigned following a popular uprising against his government for mismanaging the economy.

Wickremesinghe, 73, will face-off against Dullas Alahapperuma, a 63-year-old staunch Sinhala Buddhist nationalist and a key member from the breakaway group of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) party and the leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Anura Kumara Dissanayake, 53, it was officially announced in Parliament.

Sajith Premadasa, the 55-year-old leader of Sri Lanka's principal opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya, said on Tuesday that he was withdrawing from the race of President to provide support to Alahapperuma.

The 225-member Parliament is expected to elect the new president after July 20, who will serve the remaining term of former president Rajapaksa till November 2024. (PTI)

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12:01 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lankan lawmakers prepare to vote on new president

The leader of Sri Lanka’s main opposition party withdrew his candidacy for president on Tuesday, throwing his support to another contender as lawmakers prepared to choose a successor to the ousted leader who fled the country last week.

Sajith Premadasa, leader of the main opposition party, said he would back former government minister and spokesman Dallas Alahapperuma, who was nominated Tuesday by a breakaway faction of the ruling coalition.

“For the greater good of my country that I love and the people I cherish I hereby withdraw my candidacy for the position of president," Premadasa said in a Twitter post. He continued, “and our alliance and our opposition partners will work hard towards making @DullasOfficial victorious."

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ruling coalition is now fragmented, with other members backing Acting President and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, a choice expected to incense critics of the government outraged by the country’s dire economic crisis. 

Rajapaksa fled the country after protesters outraged by the crisis stormed his official residence and occupied other key public buildings. He later submitted his resignation via an email to the speaker of the parliament. Wickremesinghe's anticipated entry angered those who saw his possible election as an extension of the Rajapaksa rule and a potential comeback for the beleaguered political family. Separately on Tuesday the Supreme Court was set to decide whether Wickremesinghe's appointment as acting president last week by the speaker of the parliament was legal.  (PTI)

11:18 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Security beefed up around Sri Lankan Parliament ahead of Presidential election

The security has been beefed up in and around Sri Lanka's Parliament complex on Tuesday after the Speaker lodged a complaint with the Inspector General of Police calling for a detailed investigation to be conducted into certain inflammatory posts published on social media threatening Members of Parliament.

The complaint by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena came hours before Parliament was poised to accept the nominations for the post of president, which fell vacant last week after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and later resigned.

The Parliament is expected to elect the new president on July 20.

On Monday, Sri Lankan Members of Parliament from the ruling party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) had complained of receiving threat messages on social media, warning them against voting for Sri Lanka's Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe. (PTI)

10:31 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lankans to protest against Wickremesinghe's bid for president

Sri Lankan students and other groups planned to protest on Tuesday against Ranil Wickremesinghe's expected bid for president, as lawmakers gathered in parliament to finalise candidates for the role.

Six-time prime minister Wickremesinghe took over as acting president after a popular uprising amid a devastating economic crisis forced previous incumbent Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee to Singapore and resign. Demonstrators, angered by rocketing prices and shortages of food and fuel, want Wickremesinghe gone too. (PTI)

10:22 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lanka opposition leader Premadasa withdraws from race for president

Sri Lanka opposition leader Sajith Premadasa withdrew on Tuesday from the race to become president of the island nation, in order to support a rival candidate.

"For the greater good of my country that I love and the people I cherish, I hereby withdraw my candidacy for the position of president," Premadasa said on Twitter.

His party and "our alliance and our opposition partners will work hard towards making" Dullas Alahapperuma the winner, he added.  (PTI)

10:22 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Indian envoy: Will like to bring more investment to help Lanka build capacity

India wishes that the ongoing transition in Sri Lanka will not only be “smooth,” it will also help the island nation stage an “early and effective” economic recovery, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay told The Indian Express Monday.

To that effect, India, which has helped Sri Lanka with almost $4 billion in aid would, “going forward,” like to bring in “more investment” to help the country build capacities to respond to the economic challenges, Baglay said. (Read More)

09:32 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Govt calls all-party meet on Sri Lanka crisis Tuesday; Jaishankar to brief MPs

Sri Lanka's acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday that the country had almost concluded negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a day after he declared a state of emergency in the island nation.

"The acting president further explained that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were nearing conclusion, and discussions for assistance with foreign countries were also progressing," Wickremesinghe's office said in a statement.

The statement came after Wickremesinghe gazetted orders late on Sunday for a state of emergency in the crisis-hit country, in an effort to head off unrest ahead of a vote in parliament later this week to elect a new president.

Sri Lanka's beleaguered leaders have imposed a state of emergency several times since April, when public protests took hold against the government's handling of a deepening economic crisis and a persistent shortage of essentials. Sri Lanka's acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday that the country had almost concluded negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a day after he declared a state of emergency in the island nation.

"The acting president further explained that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were nearing conclusion, and discussions for assistance with foreign countries were also progressing," Wickremesinghe's office said in a statement.

The statement came after Wickremesinghe gazetted orders late on Sunday for a state of emergency in the crisis-hit country, in an effort to head off unrest ahead of a vote in parliament later this week to elect a new president.

Sri Lanka's beleaguered leaders have imposed a state of emergency several times since April, when public protests took hold against the government's handling of a deepening economic crisis and a persistent shortage of essentials.Reuters)

08:46 (IST)19 Jul 2022
India top lender to crisis-hit Sri Lanka this year

India has emerged as the top lender to Sri Lanka, extending USD 376.9 million worth credit compared to USD 67.9 million by China in the first four months of this year to rescue the island nation from the unprecedented political crisis and economic turmoil.

Loans from India with USD 376.9 million were the highest foreign financing disbursements during the period of January 1 to April 30, 2022, according to Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry.

After India, Asian Development Bank (ADB) came in as the second largest lender with USD 359.6 million being disbursed in the first four months, followed by the World Bank with USD 67.3 million. The total foreign financing disbursements made during the period amounted to USD 968.8 million, of which, USD 968.1 million was disbursed as loans while USD 0.7 million was disbursed by way of grants. The majority of the disbursements were from the loan agreements signed with India, which is almost 39 per cent, followed by Asian Development Bank (37 per cent) and China (7 per cent), according to a report from the ministry. (PTI)

08:29 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Crisis in Sri Lanka a warning to other countries with high debt levels and limited policy space: IMF chief

IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva has cited the example of the unprecedented economic crisis in Sri Lanka to warn other countries that they could also face a similar situation in the face of high debt levels and limited policy space.

"I wish the global economic outlook was as bright as the sky in Bali, but unfortunately, it is not. The outlook has darkened significantly, and uncertainty is exceptionally high. Downside risks about which the IMF had previously warned have now materialised," International Monetary Fund Managing Director Georgieva said at the meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Indonesia.

"Countries with high debt levels and limited policy space will face additional strains. Look no further than Sri Lanka as a warning sign," Georgieva said on Saturday. (PTI)

08:17 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lanka's Wickremesinghe says Rajapaksa government covered up facts - CNN

Sri Lanka's acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe told CNN in an interview on Monday that Gotabaya Rajapaksa's government was "covering up facts". He added that his aim was to stabilize Sri Lanka's devastated economy by the end of 2023.

"By the end of next year let's start stabilizing, and certainly by 2024 let's have a functioning economy which will start growing," Wickremesinghe told CNN.

08:15 (IST)19 Jul 2022
Sri Lanka's political turmoil sows worries for recovery

A day after Sri Lanka’s president fled, Mohamed Ishad waited outside an immigration office near the capital, clutching a file of documents that he hopes will get his passport renewed so he can leave, too. With the nation in the throes of its worst economic crisis, Ishad has no job, relies on relatives for financial help and sells vegetables to feed his wife and three children. He wants to go to Japan and find work there so he can send money back home.

Ishad is devastated to leave his family behind, but feels there is no choice — and no opportunity — in his country. “Living in Sri Lanka right now is not good — if you want a good life, you need to leave,” he said. "Not only has the economy collapsed, but “there’s hardly a government functioning right now.”

Bankruptcy has forced the island nation's government to a near standstill. Its once-beloved and now reviled former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled to Singapore before resigning last week. The acting president and prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, is seen as his proxy and opposed by angry crowds. Parliament is expected to elect a new leader Wednesday, paving the way for a fresh government, but it is unclear if that's enough to fix a shattered economy and placate a furious nation of 22 million that has grown disillusioned with politicians of all stripes. The political ruckus has deepened worries that solutions to the crisis, including a crucial assistance from the International Monetary Fund, may be delayed. (AP)

16:30 (IST)18 Jul 2022
Sri Lanka switches venues for 2nd cricket test vs Pakistan

Logistical challenges caused by Sri Lanka’s economic and political crisis forced cricket organizers to move the second cricket test against Pakistan from Colombo to Galle.Sri Lanka Cricket announced the decision Monday, on Day 3 of the first test, after deciding not to take any chances with potential political protests in the capital.

The protests are likely to intensify as Parliament is set to choose a new President later this week.Ranil Wickremesinghe, who became acting President last week after Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled abroad and resigned after months-long mass protests over the country’s economic collapse, has declared a state of emergency.The second test was scheduled to start at R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo next Sunday. Now both teams will remain in the southern coastal town of Galle after the first test to play out the series.

16:28 (IST)18 Jul 2022
Another state of emergency declared in Sri Lanka as acting president takes reins

Sri Lanka's acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency, according to a government notice released late on Sunday, as his administration seeks to quell social unrest and tackle an economic crisis gripping the island nation. Sri Lanka's beleaguered leaders have issued imposed a state of emergency several times since April, when public protests took hold against the government's handling of a deepening economic and a persistent shortage of essentials.

"It is expedient, so to do, in the interests of public security, the protection of public order and the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community," the notification stated. Wickremesinghe had announced a state of emergency last week, after president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country to escape a popular uprising against his government.

Sri Lanka Leader of Opposition and MP Sajith Premadasa on Sunday, as reported by ANI said, “We admire the gracious efforts of Government of India for the tremendous support they have given us, in terms of meeting the basic needs of our people. We continue to seek India’s help and support in this regard.”

Ahead of a meeting of the Sri Lankan Parliament to elect a new President, the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, Gopal Baglay, met Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena Saturday and said India will continue to be “supportive of democracy, stability and economic recovery in Sri Lanka”. This was the Indian envoy’s first publicly announced contact with the Sri Lankan parliament following the flight — and resignation later — of disgraced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the swearing-in of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Acting President.

Indian Deputy High Commissioner Vinod K Jacob on Saturday handed over dry rations worth SLR 80 million to Department of Probations and Child Care Services, Sri Lanka

  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
First published on: 17-07-2022 at 07:59:37 am
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